The year they cancelled Easter. Well, not exactly. Perhaps I’m merely a product of the commercialization of my time, but my thoughts go back to the Grinch. “It came without boxes,” he said, “it came without bags” (and any more might be copyright infringement). You get the point—holidays aren’t reliant upon their trappings. Can Easter come without colorful eggs? Without baskets and bonnets? Without Peeps and chocolates? Yes, it can. We’ve taken another holiday with religious origins and associated it with what you can buy. I know it’s more than that for some people. It’s singing stirring hymns (all of which can be found on YouTube), and dressing nice (which can still be done at home), but mainly I think it’s the sense of togetherness that’s missing. The freedom of bursting from our personal tombs in which we’ve been stuck for three weeks.
Around here snow was falling on Good Friday. A friend told me her company decided since everyone was working remotely they would give them an extra holiday that day. Others of us slogged on as usual, for unlike Christmas, the Easter/Passover complex is not about getting days off work. These are, I guess, working class holidays. Our capitalistic outlook wants us to spend money, though, on holidays. Halloween (on which I foresee a plethora of plague doctor costumes) has become almost as lucrative as Christmas. The spring holidays—St. Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, and Easter—encourage spending as well. Can we not get to the heart of a holiday without pulling out our wallets? Spring holidays are all about the return of life after winter. It was snowing, but I could hear lawnmowers in the distance.
With capitalism growing old and sluggish, the next spending holiday isn’t until Mother’s Day, yet another spring celebration associated with flowers and life. My wife has been saying that what she misses is being out to see things coming back to life in spring. Some of the trees are putting on quite a show already. Magnolias and dogwoods have started to scatter their petals with the snowflakes. Our daffodils have been blooming since March. The forsythias are already going green. Life is returning. That’s what Easter, and in its own way Passover, is all about. Life after imprisonment—freedom. Liberation. We have to put them off this year, but they’re all movable feasts. We keep quietly apart in the hopes that life really will return after disease and death. And it will come regardless. It always does.